Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters speaks in front of the Mesa County Justice Center in Grand Junction on Jan. 13, 2022. (Sharon Sullivan for Colorado Newsline)
Embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters announced her intent to run for Colorado secretary of state on Monday, less than a week after she was arrested in Grand Junction and booked for obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations.
“Colorado needs a secretary of state who will put people over political theater and prioritize them over politics. Colorado deserves a secretary of state who will stand up to the Biden administration who wants to run our country into the ground with nationalized elections,” Peters said Monday morning on a show hosted by Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump.
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Peters announcement was informal, and she said she plans to launch a campaign website on Monday afternoon. She has not yet filed to run for the position with the secretary of state’s office, but still has an active campaign to run for another term as clerk and recorder in Mesa County.
Peters said she wants to “strengthen checks and balances by following the Colorado Constitution and restoring public trust.”
“I am so excited to put an end to reckless emergency rulings that the present secretary of state — she’s like the queen. She just puts down edicts and that has got to stop,” Peters told Bannon.
Peters was barred from overseeing the 2021 coordinated election in Mesa County and current Secretary of State Jena Griswold is trying to take similar action to prevent Peters from running the 2022 elections in the county.
Peters, who has spread baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election being stolen, is currently under a grand jury investigation into her conduct during a 2021 secure software update, where she allegedly allowed an unauthorized person into the room. That led to a security breach when sensitive information and passwords were posted online to a far-right website.
Separately, Peters is also facing campaign ethics and finance complaints.
She was arrested last week as she was being investigated by the district attorney for allegedly using an iPad to record court proceedings involving her deputy clerk. When officers approached her at a Grand Junction bagel shop to seize her iPad under a search warrant, she resisted and allegedly tried to kick a police officer. Peters turned herself in later that week on charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations. She later appeared at an “emergency meeting” of far-right activists, where a speaker, Shawn Smith, called for Griswold’s execution,
Griswold responded to Peters’ candidacy announcement with a fundraising plea.
“Election denier Tina Peters just jumped in to run against me. She compromised voting equipment, lies about elections, and has embraced dangerous extremism. Rush in a donation NOW to make sure we can win this race,” Griswold tweeted with a link to her ActBlue donation page and a thread of reasons she thinks Peters should not be elected.
“Tina Peters is unfit to be Secretary of State and a danger to Colorado elections. Colorado needs a Secretary of State who will uphold the will of the people; not one who embraces conspiracies and risks Coloradans’ right to vote,” she wrote.
Republicans Pam Anderson, David Winney and Francis O’Donnell are also vying for the party’s nomination for secretary of state.
Party primaries are on June 28 in Colorado.
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